"Be vewwy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits."
Possibly the greatest animated cartoon of all time, with superior animation, writing, and directing -- and the music ain't bad either.
It was released in 1957 from the Warner Bros. animation unit. It was directed by Chuck Jones, written by Mike Maltese, and loosely based on Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. Mel Blanc was the voice of Bugs Bunny, and Arthur Q. Bryan was the voice of Elmer Fudd. Blanc also provided the voice of Elmer screaming "SMOG!" Milt Franklyn composed the non-Wagner music, and the song "Return My Love" was written by Jones and Maltese. Jones and the other animators studied dancers Tania Riabouchinskaya and David Lichine for the cartoon's ballet scene. This was the very first cartoon ever selected for the National Film Registry.
God's pity upon you if you're not familiar with the plot. Mighty Viking warrior Elmer Fudd is summoning mighty storms in preparation for his mighty rabbit hunt. He chases fruitlessly after Bugs, who soon disguises himself as Brunhilde. The two sing and dance together, but when the ruse is discovered, Elmer angrily summons a storm to destroy the wild hare. But can the hunter live with the guilt if he finally captures his prey?
I got to see this one once on a big screen as a pre-feature short. I was surrounded by cynical, media-savvy college students, and the cartoon got an enthusiastic standing ovation and was the talk of the campus for the whole weekend. Those of us who got to see it considered ourselves fortunate; those who missed it cursed their foul luck.
Just imagine what Chuck Jones and the rest of the denizens of Termite Terrace could've done if Warner Brothers had let 'em do feature-length cartoons...
"Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?"